“Hu Allah” – A review

Ismail Hussain has finally kicked off his Project 5 campaign with his latest single release “Hu Allah” (Click here to listen) in the praise of the Almighty. Amidst much speculation and excitement as to what Project 5 will deliver, Ismail has finally done so – to much acclaim.

Pitched to a global audience, Ismail has effortlessly woven English Urdu and Arabic couplets, in this short track, to produce a lyrically engaging piece which strikes at the core of Sufism – remembrance of the Divine. The composition reflects the poetry well, whilst the rhythm connotes the poet’s motivation and thankfulness in the presence of the Divine, presenting a commitment to ‘stay this way’.

Ismail’s use of traditional instruments provides an air of authenticity, and traditionalism which complements the central message. In particular the use of strings and subtle percussion which develops as the track proceeds works incredibly well with the developments of verses. It is clear however, that Ismail has not held back from granting musicians creative license; at various points we see this materialise which brings an added layer of development. In particular the introduction of the tabla during the Urdu recital, reflects not only musical maturity and understanding but also contextual appreciation by the Project 5 team.

Of course, a central part of this release are the optics which stand at an exceptional level. The investment of creative energy has paid dividends; the videography is choregraphed to match the melody and poetry – subtle transitions, and elegant movement to reflect the optimistic outlook of the track. Ismail’s wardrobe reflected his understanding of the poetry as well as contextual elements of the location chosen. Though the UAE is renowned for its towering skyscrapers, the video, rather ironically, successfully incorporates the key element of traditionalism yet balances this with selective shots of modern structures, thus striking a balance between tradition and modernity.

If this, short but well-produced track is reflective of what is to come, it seems Ismail has set the standard exceptionally high. The attention to detail in all departments has resulted in quite simply, a pleasing production. Ismail, contemporaneous with many young talented Nasheed artists, has set his colleagues an aspirational standard to achieve.

You can listen to “Hu Allah” on all major platforms.

Ismail’s next Project 5 release “Ya Nabi” will be released 07.03.2020.

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